SoundHound and Hyundai Ink Long-Term Voice AI Deal With New Offline Processing Feature
SoundHound and Hyundai have signed a seven-year agreement to embed SoundHound’s voice AI into many of Hyundai’s vehicles around the world. The arrangement will add SoundHound’s new Edge+Cloud system, which processes voice commands in the cloud and ‘on-edge’ within the vehicle. The partnership news followed SoundHound’s first quarterly earnings report since going public on Nasdaq, with $230 million in bookings though a loss of $2 in earnings per share.
The new agreement will widen SoundHound’s presence in vehicles across the globe. Hyundai brands, including Kia, Genesis, and Hyundai itself, will roll out with the multilingual voice assistant platform. The new Edge+Cloud system will streamline and improve the existing voice AI by processing some commands without needing to send or receive data from the cloud. The model is designed explicitly for automotive needs, so requests to adjust the in-car environment and entertainment are processed offline. Even the navigation feature can work when the car is out of range of internet access. Though SoundHound has announced Edge+Cloud integration for Stellantis vehicles, this will be the first time it operates in North America or for Hyundai. SoundHound has worked with Hyundai since 2014 and continually deepened their partnership, expanding to new cars and locations like India.
“Edge+Cloud opens up the possibilities for automakers and other manufacturers to get the best of both worlds—hand-free on-device functionality and the ability to search for information from the cloud—in one seamless interface,” SoundHound CEO Keyvan Mohajer told Voicebot in an interview. “This agreement with Hyundai is significant as it not only expands on the scope of our partnership to include our Edge+Cloud solutions, more languages, and music recognition, but it also increases the number of vehicles where SoundHound will be integrated over the next seven years, and the first time SoundHound and a partner have announced plans to bring voice commerce to a product.”
The voice commerce element is central to SoundHound and Hyundai’s long-term plans. They envision a future where Hyundai drivers can order and pay for food by voice and score promotional deals through other corporate partnerships. SoundHound has already experimented with the concept, teaming up with Mastercard and White Castle to create voice AI for drive-thrus. What they plan for Hyundai is something different, more like the kind of voice commerce that Cerence, as well as Amazon and Google, have been trying out for their respective automotive AI platforms.
“Our solution for restaurant drive-thrus and drive-ins is designed for QSRs like White Castle to voice-enable their ordering kiosks,” Mohajer said. “In contrast, our plans for voice commerce in-car and on other devices entails partnerships between businesses (like restaurants) and the voice assistant brand (like Hyundai) to allow consumers to use the voice assistant resident on their device to help them make purchases, such as ordering a pizza or getting gas or a parking space.”